A former Andhra Pradesh High Court judge has moved the Supreme Court against an order of the High Court directing a probe into an alleged phone conversation between him and a suspended trial court magistrate. Justice (retd) V Eswaraiah in his petition alleged that the incident was a serious conspiracy against the judiciary.
The plea sought a stay of the high court's order for the enquiry on the ground that it was unwarranted and illegal and has been passed without a notice to Justice Eswaraiah and has caused undue harassment to him. The high court, in its order, had requested former Supreme Court judge Justice R V Raveendran to inquire into the matter. The phone conversation, according to the plea purportedly pertained to the corruption allegations in the Amaravati land scam.
The former judge said the high court's order was made on the basis of an application for reopening and intervention filed by the suspended District Munsif Magistrate (S Ramakrishna) in an unrelated PIL seeking implementation of the COVID guidelines in the court building and premises. The order for the enquiry into the conversation was made by the high court on the basis of the intervention and without even issuing notice to the former judge, the appeal said. The petition filed through lawyer Prashant Bhushan said that the special leave petition has been filed against the August 13 order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court ordering an investigation into a private phone conversation between the petitioner and a suspended District Munsif Magistrate of Andhra Pradesh. The appeal said the high court stated that "the contents of the conversation disclose a 'serious conspiracy' against the Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh, a senior sitting judge of the Supreme Court and thereby to destabilize the judiciary. The plea said the former highcourt judge, in the alleged phone conversation, had merely mentioned his knowledge about allegations of misconduct and terming such a conversation to be a kind of conspiracy was unwarranted.
The plea said that the transcript of the alleged conversation, provided by Ramakrishna, was inaccurate and hence, misleading with respect to various aspects of the talk. It said in the conversation there was a reference of an enquiry by the cabinet sub-commitee regarding dubious property transactions for unlawful gain during the previous regime in Andhra Pradesh. Recently, the apex court, in a separate matter, had stayed the Andhra Pradesh High Court direction restraining the media from publishing news regarding an FIR lodged on alleged irregularities in land transactions in Amaravati.
It had said that the high court shall not decide till January last week the pending matter which relates to the alleged illegal land transactions during shifting of the state capital to Amaravati. The top court, however, had refused to stay at this stage the other directions of the high court including the stay on probe into the FIR in the matter.
The apex court passed the order while hearing an appeal filed by Andhra Pradesh government against the September 15 order of high court staying the SIT probe and gagging the reportage of the case. The Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government had earlier constituted the 10-member SIT, headed by a Deputy Inspector General of Police- rank IPS officer, on February 21 to conduct a comprehensive investigation into various alleged irregularities, particularly the land deals in the Amaravati Capital Region, during the previous Chandrababu Naidu regime. The report of a Cabinet Sub-Committee on the procedural, legal and financial irregularities and fraudulent transactions concerned with various projects, including the issues related to land in the CRDA region will form the basis for the SIT probe, the government had said.